Carrying Albert Home: The Somewhat True Story of a Man, His Wife, and Her Alligator is now available at booksellers, both brick and mortar, and online.
To order it online, you can go here:
For those who haven't heard about Albert, here's a quick synopsis:
It's the story of the eternal love triangle: Homer (my future father) loves Elsie (my future mother). Elsie love Albert. The difference is Albert is . . . well, Albert is an alligator, the gift to Elsie from her former boyfriend, a fellow named Buddy Ebsen (yes, that Buddy Ebsen).
For lots more description (and photos), please see our website here: http://homerhickam.com/project/carrying-albert-home/
Carrying Albert Home is already an award-winning book. It has 15 International publishers, will be a Book-of-the-Month Club selection in December, will be a Reader's Digest condensed book, has won the Okra Award from the Southern Independent Booksellers Association, and has been given many, many great reviews by professional reviewers and readers alike.
But now that it has been published, we hope you will like it, too.
Am I nervous?
Well, maybe more than that. On Twitter and Facebook, I've said I'm terrified but that's a bit over the top.
Since I'm a Vietnam vet, I know what terrified is and I'm none of that. Nobody is trying to kill me or physically hurt me. But perhaps I am close to what "Homer" in Carrying Albert Home was as he begins the great journey with Elsie and Albert.
For one of the first times in the entire history of his life, he felt scared. A week ago, the mine roof had cracked like a rifle shot and a giant slab of rock had missed him by inches but that hadn’t scared him at all. He’d never told Elsie about that but he knew she knew. She seemed to know everything he tried to keep from her. In contrast, Homer confessed to himself he knew very little about the woman he’d married and had now put the fear of God in him with her threat to head off for Florida whether he went along or not.
So maybe I'm scared for the same reason Homer (my future father) is scared as he realizes the journey is now REALLY about to begin, a journey he had known was coming but pretended wasn't.
So I'm thinking maybe that's what I am. Scared.
You see, Carrying Albert Home is no longer in my control. Nor is it in the control of my wonderful publisher or editor or all the other so very special people at Wm Morrow/HarperCollins who have worked so hard to get Albert ready.
Carrying Albert Home is now in YOUR control.
My publisher believes Carrying Albert Home is the most important book I've written since Rocket Boys. Certainly, it came from deep within my very fiber, from deep within my heart, from deep within my soul. As writers hope will come, I felt a vast energy when I wrote Albert as if I was also on the same kind of journey as Elsie, Homer, Albert, and (for reasons not entirely understood) the Rooster.
I hope you will read it. I hope you will like it. No, I hope you will love it. Lots of readers already do. I hope you will recommend it to others to also read. It is a story that I think most of us need in this life or I wouldn't have written it. As the very first paragraph says:
The story of Albert taught me many things, not only about my parents but the life they gave me to live, and the lives we all live, even when we don’t understand why.
Even when we don't understand why. . . The life they gave me to live . . . The lives we all live . . .
OK. I've got it.
I'm not scared. Not scared at all.
What I am is grateful. I'm grateful to my parents, to my friends, to my wife, to my brother, to my publisher, to all those who have always been there for me.
And I'm grateful to you.
Grateful is a feeling, unlike scared, that slips on like a favorite old jacket. Saved again by the angels about me... one of whom might have once been a Rooster.
And this just in: The Huffington Post weighs in on Carrying Albert Home: